TV shows from the twilight zone The viewers strike back with fantasy programs

October 15, 1990|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,Evening Sun Staff

GIVE US A break, man!

In response to our call for entries in the "Go For It" contest, looking for new TV shows based on familiar phrases and variations thereof, we had to wade through some 125 ideas from more than 40 readers.

Some were one-liners, while others were extensive descriptions complete with cast lists and sponsors. But reading them wasn't actually that painful -- the level of cleverness was quite high.

The most prolific respondent -- and one of the funniest -- was John Winston, who twisted current titles as well as phrases into his pun-filled vision. Among the better of his 15 suggestions were:

"Hard Iraq Cafe" with Saddam Hussein running a nightspot that uses a deadly hook to yank bad talent off the stage.

"On Grey Poupond" follows the yuppies of the "thirtysomething" crowd to their retirement home.

"Field of Drains" tells of the Brooklyn sanitation worker who builds a maze of sewers on a cleared lot near the location of Ebbets Field to conjure up the spirit of Ed Norton.

"Twin Geeks" with Pee-wee Herman and Jerry Lewis running a sex therapy clinic for seniors.

"Holy Cow" has Phil Rizzuto as a bumbling loan shark who can't say no.

"Gay Abandon" with Tony Randall, Richard Simmons and Rex Reed complaining about their fate after being shipwrecked on a desert island.

Dennis Allen wasn't far behind with 14 possible shows, including:

"Wooden It Be Nice," a "Twin Peaks" spinoff following the Log Lady as she moves to a logging camp.

"Not My Type," a comedy set in a blood donation center.

"Cop a Feel" follows an L.A. policeman who moonlights as a masseur in a Beverly Hills spa.

"Lighten Up" about the battle between two diet system shops located next door to one another.

A group that identified itself only as faxing from "the Walters basement" -- who are apparently associated with one of the city's finer art museums -- also used "Lighten Up," suggesting Marlo Thomas host a talk show featuring the most tiresome single-agenda groups, with the audience cued to shout the show's title when the guests become too strident.

The Walters group took time out from contemplating Medieval treasures to produce a few other good ones:

"Go Figure" featuring Bob Newhart as a harried IRS auditor running an out-of-the way office of the government's most-hated bureau.

"Wait for the Beep" would bring Shelley Long back to prime time as a spirit in an answering machine, complicating the life of her still-living husband.

"Clean Up in Aisle Three" follows the trials and tribulations of a security force at a big city supermarket.

"Just Jiggle the Handle" focuses on a magic toilet at a seedy motel whose cleaning staff is presided over by Wilford Brimley and Marion Ross.

Jackie Marconi's "No Problem" would tell what happened to people who followed the advice they heard on a radio talk show by that name, while L.B. Wright's "Spill the Beans" focuses on a cook in a greasy spoon who serves up his own side order as a police informer.

A couple of shows had Alaska motifs. Jocelyn Szczepaniak-Gillece's "Way Cool" has a California family with young kids transferred there, and Kelly Hurley's "North to Alaska" proposes following Oliver North, who has been convicted of unspecified crimes and sent to do public service cleaning up an oil spill in the 49th state, though his political work goes on.

Some of the one-liners included Johanna Urban's "A Kinder Gentler Nation" telling of prohibitionist Carry after she buried the hatchet and entered a convent; Herbert Manuzak's "Seize the Day" follows a bunch of happy-go-lucky kidnappers who are after Doris and other Days, one of whom might be in J.G. Horner's "Have an Ice, Day" which is about Dan Day inheriting his grandmother's Italian ice stand. Then there's Jack Meckler's "Dancing in the Dark," which takes place after lightning strikes a dance studio.

That wasn't the only one set in such an arena as Mary Knauer's "It Takes Tu-Tu Tango" is about a destitute ballet dancer forced to give ballroom lessons. Another one about a street vendor came from Doug Gorius, who proposed a sequel to ''Family Ties,'' with Michael J. Fox's Alex Keaton, having lost it all in the stock market, opening a hot dog stand on Wall Street in "Cutting the Mustard."

Some others:

"Keep Your Shirt On" with Dolly Parton as housewife and mother by day, topless dancer by night, from Jeff Powers.

"Don't Have a Cow, Dude" with Wilford Brimley and Fresh Prince as a rural/urban odd couple of veterinarians, from Don Brizendine.

"What's the Deal?" with two international undercover agents who masquerade as card dealers in casinos, from Marvin Brilliant.

"If the Shoe Fits" with Pee-wee Herman as a lovelorn shoe salesman who finds, in the words of creator Rae Rossen, "trouble afoot."

"Pardon My French" follows the fun times of an exchange student from France, from Robert Bourn.

"Happy Campers" with the young men at this camp keeping smiles on their faces because their counselors are Heather Locklear, Victoria Principal and Madonna, from Robin Anderson.

"Throw in the Towel" with Jackie Mason as aging prize fighter Irv "Jumping Jewish" Zurrwitz and Nancy Walker as his mother who wants him to leave the ring and go into the family business, from Morris Richmond.

"Piece o' Cake" set in the mixed batter world of the zany workers at a bakery, from Wayne McCaden.

"Life's a Bleach . . . Then you Dye" follows the craziness that occurs as an Asian laundry owner has to deal with his clientele in upper-class Manhattan, from L.F. Claes.

And, at least a half dozen of you had ideas for "Read My Lips," but most of them were in such bad taste that they fell below the standards of a family newspaper.

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